Saturday, February 21, 2015

"Romeo and Juliet" with a homosexual twist - how cliche these days


When I first spotted "A `Romeo and Juliet' reboot from Rochester playwright" in our local newspaper, I was immediately interested. After all, I've taught the play for years; might this be something I could mention to my students who just finished reading the play?

Then I saw the caption under the photo with the article. It mentions a "repressive all-boys Catholic school." Red flags went up. My first thought was, "What decade is this from?" More Catholic bashing seemed in the works.

I started reading the article. Buzz words like "contemporary setting" and "new conflict" showed up in the first paragraph. Contemporary? When it has the tired and horribly out-dated "repressive" Catholic school setting? Only if by "contemporary" you mean 40 or 50 years ago. And it turns out it was written about 18 years ago when it was trendy to bash things Catholic.

More red flags.

When I saw that the school forbid students to read Shakespeare, I thought, heck, given the state of education today Catholic schools are often the only ones who still tackle challenging texts like Shakespeare.

And I began to wonder - Hmmm, Romeo and Juliet, all-boys school, secret night-time reading of the play, repressive, "their own inner struggles" - when does a homosexual theme show up? Sure enough, the playwright "added a twist" and two boys fall in "love." Twisted indeed.

Bold? Dangerous? Ha! This is so full of clich├ęs it's embarrassing. But in these let's-shove-homosexuality-in-your-face-to-try-to-make-it-seem-acceptable times, par for the course.

This is not a production I will mention to my students.

Pax et bonum

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